President's Message

March 12, 2019
Written by: Lisa Lugauskas

Greetings! Or, shall I say, bonjour mes amis!

I am still using my high school French, having just returned from New Orleans where I represented our chapter at the CREW Winter Summit. The City of New Orleans was a delightful Summit host. I found the city and its people welcoming, friendly and unique. A big focus of the meeting was discussion of CREW Foundation, which our Connecticut Chapter members have generously supported through the years. The Foundation has four prongs: industry research, scholarships, UCREW and CREW Careers. Our chapter members participate in UCREW by visiting UCONN each year to serve as panelists sharing information about careers in commercial real estate. CREW Careers is each chapter’s reach out to local high-performing high school girls who are attending low-performing schools. We educate them about the opportunities available to them in commercial real estate and have conducted programs nearly every year.

In 2017, Taylor Casey, a Columbia, Connecticut native and E.O. Smith High School graduate, received one of the 20-$5,000 annual scholarships awarded to young women pursuing commercial real estate careers. Valuable industry valuable research has been published and members can access recent White Papers on Pay Parity and Gender Equality on the CREW Network website.

Upcoming CREW Network Events
CREW Network educational events have been well-attended by members of the Connecticut chapter, and for CREW members who aspire to leadership roles within the organization, there are several annual events you may attend. The largest national event each year is the annual Convention and 11 of our chapter members attended last year’s convention in San Diego. This year, it will be held in Orlando from September 25th through the 27th and program details and registration are coming soon. I can personally attest to the fact that the convention is both educational and tremendous fun.

The other two annual events are CREW summits: the Winter Summit, which I just attended in New Orleans, and the Spring Summit, which will be held in Kansas City in June. Our President- elect, Melissa Ferrucci and our Delegate and one of our past Presidents, Janet Wheeler will attend the Spring Summit. The two summits offer leadership training, networking opportunities, content-heavy breakout sessions and inspirational key-note speakers, such as ABC anchorwoman, Robin Roberts, who key-noted at the San Diego Convention.

As CREW is an International organization, CREW is also offering a Global Study Mission in London from April 29 – May 3, 2019. This event will offer an opportunity to network with potential business partners in the UK and hear from industry leaders to gain new perspectives about development and the flow of foreign capital and global markets. If you have any interest in attending, registration is limited and must be done by March 31st.

I highly encourage each of you to consider assuming a leadership role in CREW. You will benefit from new relationships, networking opportunities, relevant topic seminars and you will enjoy top-notch speakers. I hope to see you at all our CREW Connecticut events as well as at the Orlando Convention in September.

New Orleans Sightseeing Highlights
I had an opportunity to take in some sightseeing site prior to the Summit and particularly enjoyed touring the National WWII Museum. My late father-in-law stormed the beaches at Omaha Beach on D-Day. The Museum’s exhibits, films and in-depth explanation of the D-Day invasion were remarkable. The museum is poignant and well worth the visit.

The New Orleans food and drink is like nothing I ever experienced. I sampled a shrimp Po Boy, Gumbo, Jambalaya, a beignet at CafĂ© du Monde, a Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s, King’s Cake and an inordinate number of pralines. It is statutorily forbidden to visit New Orleans without over-indulging. I was elated to witness the city continuing to rebound after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I visited the 9th ward, which was the hardest hit during the storm. It is overwhelming to learn the number of dead and injured. Still, as you walk through New Orleans today, you only see smiles, welcoming faces, beads, masks, feathers and marching bands!

March is Women’s History Month
What started as Women’s History Week under Jimmy Carter’s presidency in 1980 and expanded by Congressional action to a full month in 1987, the President has annually declared March as Women’s History Month since 1988. We celebrate the success and role of all our CREW members during this special time.